A report in Financial Times from Washington also quoted sources to say that foreign minister S Jaishankar had a “secret” meeting with his counterpart Melanie Joly in the US capital last month to discuss the standoff over the kil ling of pro-Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in which, according to Canadian claims, India had a role. The ministry of external affairs declined to comment on the report.
While the US has said on several occasions it wants India to join the Canadian probe into the killing, it’s unclear if it also facilitated the meeting, assuming the Jaishankar-Joly meeting did take place.
Watch: EAM Jaishankar’s point-by-point rebuttal to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s charges on Nijjar killing
Significantly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to escalate the Khalistan issue between India and Canada by raising it in phone calls with leaders of the UAE and Jordan that were meant to address the Israel-Hamas war.
Gaza conflict: MEA sets up 24/7 control room, helpline for Indians in Israel and Palestine
Canada using meetings with others to put pressure on India
While Joly has said Canada is working privately with India on the Nijjar issue, Canada has been using its bilateral engagements with other countries to apply pressure on India to facilitate its investigations into the killing.
Canadian media had reported earlier that a majority of the country’s diplomats in India had been relocated to Singapore and Malaysia but latest reports, quoting anonymous officials, seem to suggest only low-level diplomatic staff were transferred out. The FT report, in fact, quoted a Canadian official to say that Canada had not removed any diplomat ahead of the October 10 deadline. Significantly, India has never confirmed officially that there was such a deadline in the first place.
There’s much India has to share: S Jaishankar’s full speech at UN
Canada has had a stronger diplomatic presence in India mainly because of its large consular section that processes visas for family members and relatives of 1.3 million Canadians of Indian origin. Following Trudeau’s claim that there were “credible allegations” about India’s role in the Nijjar killing, India had asked Canada to ensure parity in diplomatic presence while also alleging that Canadian diplomats were involved in anti-India activities. The FT report, however, said Canada had re jected India’s argument that the Vienna Conv ention on diplomatic relations justified its call for parity.
The report quoted Peter Boehm, chair of the Canadian Senate committee on foreign affairs, as saying there was nothing in the Treaty that referred to parity or unilateral determination of the number of diplomats.
Watch Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie, Jaishankar held secret meeting in US amid diplomatic row: Report